You played high school ball; maybe even some college ball — then life took over.
Children, military, working to support yourself and your family… maybe you just didn’t love the game that much anymore at that point. I get it; things happen to all of us. In any case, you put the basketball down for a long while. Now, knowing that this sport is a young (wo)man’s game, you want to give basketball one last serious shot, the shot you didn’t take back then.
Is it possible?
If so, what can you do at this point?
What steps do you need to take?
Anything you should know, given your circumstances?
I’m here for you with the truths you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. So let’s handle it, point by point.
Is it possible to make it if you haven’t played an “official” game in years?
So first, let’s get clear on what the “it” in “making it” is: For the purpose of this post, “it” = playing professional basketball.
Can you possibly sign a contract and play if you haven’t played in a real game in years?
I’ve known players who worked “regular” jobs for two years and came back to play pro basketball. Now, maybe your hiatus has been longer — I’ve heard from players who’ve been out up to even seven years with these same questions — but how long you’ve been out actually doesn’t really matter to pro team decision makers: All they care about is, Can this player help us this season?
You could be playing your first organized game in TEN years; if you can help the team, you have a chance. Proving that, on the other hand, is a different situation (see this page, and read up on camps, game footage, and the simple process all players must follow).
Bottom line for basketball who are playing for the first time, are old, young, or any other circumstance you feel could hamper your chances: If you can play, you can play. Proving it, however, is the bigger challenge — a lot of players can play; not everyone gets “on” — there aren’t enough jobs for everyone.
What can/should you do at this point, then?
Here’s the not-dramatic bottom line for players in this situation: You must follow the same steps any other player would follow. You need to have buy-in to this goal. You need Game. You need proof of your skills (film is one way; connected people who’ve seen you play is another). You need to own whatever happens as you’re the one with the hoop dream.
Read every Pro Basketball article on my Athletes page, and read it twice. Follow everything I tell you exactly as I say it. There’s nothing left out.
Here’s the disclaimer: Following everything I say to the letter, even if you are a very good basketball player, you still may not get your shot. This is the harsh truth of a profession that has more eligible employees than available jobs. Understand and accept this reality if you choose to accept the task of giving Basketball one last shot.
Anything additional you should know?
- You are employable for as long as you are effective, at any age.
- No one (amongst decision makers) really cares about your age. What they care about is if you can play now, as in today. Playing overseas isn’t the NBA; you’re not signing a 4-year guaranteed contract. Your job status is literally day-to-day many times — how well you can play now is all that matters. You are much more concerned about your age than anyone else is.
- If your age, time away from the game, or rustiness affects your ability to play well, then that’s where your age (indirectly) matters — but only because it’s affected your ability to play.
- If you don’t “make it,” it won’t be because of your age in years. It would be because of your inability to sufficiently impress the person or people who could have signed you. Doesn’t mean you’re not good. There are lots of good players who can’t get a deal. I’m saying this as it’s the truth, not to make you feel better. If it does make you feel better, consider it a bonus.
So that’s that. Get everything else you need to know about Overseas Basketball at my Athlete Resource Page here, read my book The Overseas Basketball Blueprint, and bookmark and save that Athlete page for future reference as I’m always adding new material.